Storm Chasers Killed: Tornado Tracker Died Year Before in Wrong-Way Crash

Monday, 03 Jun 2013 02:12 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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The deaths of three Oklahoma storm chasers last weekend reminded other weather watchers of Andy Gabrielson, who worked on the Weather Channel's "Tornado Hunt" and died in February 2012 in a head-on collision near Tulsa.

Gabrielson, two weeks away from his 25th birthday, lived in Oklahoma City during severe weather season. He had been chasing storms since 2003.

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Gabrielson was hit head-on by a driver traveling the wrong way, authorities said. That driver had been going the wrong direction on the Creek Turnpike, then got onto the Turner Turnpike still going the wrong way before the crash.

"The other two drivers just kinda involved after the head-on occurred – kinda a side-swiped deal," said Lt. Chris Arnall of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Gabrielson grew up in Luverne, Minn., on the family farm, according to a Weather Channel biography. Gabrielson began chasing storms in 2003, but his passion for weather was sparked a decade before, when he witnessed a tornado with his father near their home.

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He had chased storms in 24 states and witnessed more than 150 tornadoes. Gabrielson and his video have appeared on the "Today" Show and with Jim Cantore and Dr. Greg Forbes on The Weather Channel.

Last Saturday, Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and Carl Young died when they were overtaken by a multiple-vortex tornado that appeared to be in the midst of a sharp change in direction near El Reno, the Weather Channel reported.

It's been a bruising three weeks of weather for the Plains and Oklahoma, in particular with the Midwest facing repeated tornado and severe weather threats. The tornado in Moore, Okla. on May 20 killed 23 people and leveled an occupied elementary school.

Related stories:

Storm Chasers Killed in Oklahoma Tornado; 13 die in Twister

Oklahoma School Destroyed by Storm Didn't Have Safe Room

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